TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China's military on Tuesday (Aug. 9) announced that it will extend military exercises by sea and air around Taiwan with a focus on "joint blockade and joint support."
Sunday (Aug. 7) was supposed to be the last day of military exercises and live-fire drills that started on Aug. 4, allegedly in response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's 20-hour visit to Taiwan earlier in the week. However, on Monday (Aug. 8), the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command said that it will extend the exercises further.
On Tuesday, the Eastern Theater Command yet again released a statement in which it said that it will continue to conduct scenario-based joint exercises in the sea and airspace around Taiwan. It added that the drills will focus on organizing "joint blockade and joint support operations."
Meanwhile, the Taiwanese Army began conducting live-fire artillery drills in Taiwan's Pingtung County on Tuesday and will hold them again on Thursday (Aug. 11). The drills take place at the Fenggang training grounds and will involve the firing of 78 155mm self-propelled howitzers and six 120mm mortars and will be implemented by the 8th Army Corps' 43rd Artillery Command and 333rd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, the defense commands in Hualien and Taitung, and the Coast Guard Administration.
Lou Woei-jye (樓偉傑), spokesman for Taiwan’s Eighth Army Corps, told the media that the purpose of the artillery drill was to practice repulsing an amphibious landing by enemy forces, reported CNA. When asked whether the training area overlapped with one of the zones designated by the PLA, Lou emphasized that there was no overlap at all.
Vietnamese journalist Duan Dong created a map that showed the six live-fire drill zones used by the PLA last week in pink and live-fire zones designated for August by Taiwan in blue. The MND stated that the zones to the east and near the Dongsha Islands are restricted areas set up by the Army for annual routine training.
Map shows live-fire zones designated by China and Taiwan in August. (Twitter, Duan Dong image)